Bought my 99 323i in September of 2012 with around 150k miles on it. I have the automatic base model which doesn't include power seats or fog lamps. But has every other option such as leather and sunroof. Got it for around $5,200 with a 1yr unlimited mile warranty. Bought as a second car to keep the miles down on my 2011 VW Passat. Starter began to stick when weather turned really cold and was replaced at local BMW dealer under warranty ($750 bill) also had an issue with the left turn signal blinking continuously even when it wasn't engaged ($350 parts and labor). Overall not bad for a car bought cheap and is 14yrs old. Drives like a dream. A little thirsty on gas for a 6 cyl engine.
Best first car I've ever owned! Always reliable! People complain of the price to maintain BMW's sometimes. Yes, it is just a little bit more, but I'd rather pay that extra bit to have a vehicle that drives and looks great. Of course it's not a higher end BMW, but it is a BMW and a great starter BMW to have!
99 323i with premium and cold weather. 113k miles and still handles and runs strong. You have to get comfortable with maint - these cars need lots of love. Always check the maint records and get to know a good mechanic. Great cars!!
HK Sound, fun to drive, good power from the 2.5 inline 6
get used to the check engine light - do research and fix what you can yourself.
My dad purchased this car for me in May. I had it inspected and they said it was in above average condition. Since I bought it I've had to replace the expansion tank for $300, Power Steering Pump and Hoses $1000, oil change for $160 and other hoses for $500. This is come to be expected of an 11 year old car. The brakes and brake pads have been fixed but constantly squeak and my lighter and car door lock button are broken. I've had the car inspected and the tires aligned but my car ALWAYS pulls! Other than those issues the car is good to drive, although it is TERRIBLE on gas. I am quite fond of the car but if I have a repair over $500 again, I'm selling it!
Long story short. I wound up with this car by accident. I thought that I was buying something nice and boring and maintenance free... Itt ain't. These (I bought one for my daughter) things take some TLC; but if you stay away from the dealers and do your own work, they're no more expensive than a Pontiac(got the bills from my wife's dealer). E46 - watch out for the cooling system. Radiators and water pumps are plastic and die after 8-9 years. Keep up the "routine" maintenance religiously. Find a reasonably priced source of parts.
The ultimate driving machine. I've never had the chance to drive anything fancier than a European 911 Turbo, but...
Maintenance engineering. It shouldn't take a PhD in computer science to change the brake pads. Reliability.